Thursday, 25 August 2016

Picking WEEK 10 in the CFL


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cjevanshomedesigns.com
LAST WEEK: 2-2

Without wearing the GREEN goggles, let's take a look at the reason why I think that there may be an upset in the making for YOUR Saskatchewan Roughriders...

Thanks for joining our FOOTBALL CONVERSATION folks!!!

Saskatchewan @ Edmonton
The Edmonton Eskimos have won their last two competitions on the strength of a Defence that is slowly starting to improve.  That’s a great sign for the “City of Champions” because if there was one thing that fans and analysts could point out as an issue for the defending Grey Cup Champs, it was their ability to stop an opposing team. 

Over the past two games, it seems that the Esks are starting to put more emphasis on taking the ball away from their opponent.  Pat Watkins had two himself in their win over the Argos, and more importantly, the picks yielded TREMENDOUS field position for their efficient Offence.

It’s not that the Esks are doing anything different.  When one looks at the film, Mike Benevides is not employing a scheme that involves a ton of different looks, or spectacular coverage schemes.  It seems as though Edmonton has simply decided to say, “we’re going to line up, and you’re going to have to beat us.” 

I admire that brand of football.  It’s cut from the same cloth as their QB Mike Reilly.  Right now, the 2015 Champs are playing hard nosed football, knocking guys off the Line of Scrimmage, and getting W’s.  It’s the hard-hat mentality.

Here’s the good news for Ridernation; if there is an upset special in Week 10, the Saskatchewan vs. Edmonton game is it. 

The fact that the Eskimos aren’t bringing anything too complicated to the Defensive forefront bodes well for the skillset of the Week 10 Saskatchewan Roughriders.  One of the main talking points that I’ve had over the last week with my football buddies, is “when will these incredible ATHLETES start transitioning into good football players?”

Right now, there is no time like the present for the Green and White; Edmonton’s Defensive scheme may allow Saskatchewan to play fast and PHYSICAL simply because they’re won’t have to worry about being asked to consider a menu of possibilities. 

Last week in Hamilton, the multiple looks and fronts of the TiCats wreaked HAVOC on the Roughrider Offence, especially up front.  This week, if Edmonton follows the same game plan that they employed against Toronto, the only time things may get a bit complicated, is when the Riders start knocking on the door around the 20-yard line.  Even then, the variations to the attack aren’t something Darian Durant hasn’t seen over the duration of his career.

I really feel like Saskatchewan can protect the QB this game.  That’s something that the Green and White failed to do against Hamilton, among many other things, but the throws will be there against the defending champs. 

What’s important here will be the ability to take what the Edmonton Eskimos are giving the Riders until that one BIG opportunity shows up.  The rookie QB’s of the Argos failed to capitalize on sure TD’s during coverage breakdowns in the Edmonton Eskimo secondary during the match-up in Week 9.  I’m not saying that the score would have been any different, but one or two big plays may be just the spark that a struggling Roughrider team needs this week to position themselves for a HUGE win.


By now, one may have noticed that I have not once made light of the fact that Edmonton’s Offence is a beast, and the Rider Defence has left much to be desired.  One would not have many people to argue with if one was to say that the Edmonton O may have a field day against the Defenders in Green.

There is a reason that I led with talking about the Saskatchewan Offence.  Unfortunately, in this day and age of the Canadian Football League, defence has become a sideshow.

In 2016, a coach’s challenge flag is far more likely to decide the outcome of a play than a well timed blitz.  With that in mind, the Saskatchewan Roughrider Defence have the same chances of stopping Mike Reilly and his O as the best Defence in the league.  Why wouldn’t they?  It’s not like any other team has managed much success against the Esks Big 4 of Reilly, Bowman, Walker, and White.

Thus far, any Edmonton issues have been defensive ones, and if Saskatchewan can just put 4 quarters of solid offensive football together, they’ll have a shot to go pass for pass with the Esks just like they did in the first game at Commonwealth.  As far as I’m concerned, any type of un-flagged Defensive stance like INTs or QB sacks will be a luxury, and that’s not meant to sound harsh…it’s the truth in today’s game and the Green and White.

A WIN hinges all on Offensive production, with as much help from the other two phases of the game as possible.  To a team, and a Quarterback, that is looking to get themselves out of an offensive funk, this game represents all the opportunity in the world.

2016 is far from over, and although nobody has outright said it (or at least I haven’t heard it) this is as close to a “must-win” as one can get.

A loss in Edmonton puts this team in a position where they would have to win 8 of their last 9 games to have any shot at the playoffs. 

Now, that isn’t impossible, but what’s more important is that a loss will accelerate all of the OFF SEASON questions that many probably don’t want to have to deal with until AFTER the Grey Cup.

This is it.  The opportunity is right in front of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Edmonton is 2-3 at home which would be unheard of a few years back.  Mike Benevides may throw one or two wrinkles into the Defensive game plan, but my guess would be that the Eskimo’s may trend towards consistency vs. rolling out an entirely new scheme. 

Like I said before…I really like the attitude that Edmonton seems to have taken.  That “prove that you can beat us straight up” attitude is one that a lot of guys buy in to and it’s showing, but in this day and age of the CFL, there are a ton of external factors in this game that don’t allow for heroics.

If there’s an upset special on deck this week, it’s here in this game…I’m buying in this week.  I feel like a loss would start the off season with 9 more games left in 2016.

Pick: Saskatchewan Roughriders for the W…


In the interest of time, yours and mine, let’s skim over the rest of the CFL schedule and project the other victorious squads…

BC @ Ottawa
This is a bounce back game for both teams who took tough losses at home in week 9.  Trevor Harris making his return has taken a little bit of the spotlight off of the fact that Ottawa struggled offensively and defensively during their match-up with the Alouettes.  Another thing the RedBlacks need to address is their discipline issues as they were hit with 114 yards in penalties.

Although the BC Lions left much to be desired in their loss to Calgary I still think that after the Stamps, Wally’s Leos are right there as the 2nd best squad in the league.  The West division looks like it’s once again at the top of the food chain, so we’ll give the Lions that respect until someone proves us wrong.

Pick:  British Columbia Lions

Winnipeg @ Montreal

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers LOOK LIKE they’re in sync on Offence, Defence, and Special Teams right now as they find themselves with a ton of momentum.  Montreal on the other hand is far too inconsistent to hang our hat on despite looking UNREAL at times. 

Consistency is key to success in any profession.  Because of that, one should avoid the Alouettes for the time being.  They’re literally a team that could hit you for 60 pts or struggle to muster a field goal.

Pick:  The Bombers

Hamilton @ Calgary

Match of the week!  I wish I had more time to get into this one but the Regina Thunder have a must-win game in Winnipeg and I gotta coach up our Dlinemen today!!!

Don’t go chasing ghosts here folks.  As impressive as the Hamilton TiCats were against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they’ve still got a way to go before they should be crowned the “2016 Grey Cup Favourite.”

The best part of being a part of a team like Calgary is that the role they’re on equates to a HUNGER for challenges like the one they have in front of them.  Devon Claybrooks definitely has his work cut out for him in order to present a viable Defensive scheme, but as long as the Stamps find a way to protect their money-maker Bo Levi Mitchell, I like the Stamps who just sent a statement to the rest of the league with their convincing win in British Columbia during week 9.

Can’t wait for this one!!!

Pick: The Stampeders

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